Empowering Veterans and Youth to Enrich Communities_


Using a Research-Based Approach

Our mission of empowering veterans and families of the fallen to enhance their well-being and improve their mental health is most effectively carried out by taking a science-based approach to all of our programming. The foundation of all TMF initiatives is rooted in Positive Psychology, a field dedicated to studying factors that contribute to individual and community well-being. Based on this research we know that individuals are able to improve their well-being through three areas: finding meaning and purpose in their lives, developing meaningful relationships, and fully engaging in activities.

Key Findings

IVMF found that veterans and families of the fallen involved in three or more TMF initiatives agreed or strongly agreed

They feel more connected to themselves and their communities

Research has shown a direct tie between community involvement and mental health/well-being. Addressing connectedness and social relationships can be effective in improving psychosocial outcomes.

“[TMF] improves my sense of well-being. TMF empowers me to take initiative to be innovative and collaborate with my community to make it a better place for me, my family and future generations.”

-Marine Corps Veteran

They feel strong when dealing with life’s challenges and difficulties

Veterans and families of the fallen show a significant increase in their overall resilience with increased initiative participation.

“TMF has given me a sense of purpose again after the death of my husband.”

-Family Member of Fallen Service Member

“TMF has helped me look at hardship or suffering in a different light. None of the problems I have seem so big when I consider the stories of heroes such as Travis and the families that those heroes leave behind. TMF has made me more resilient.”

-Navy Service Member

They feel more inspired to serve because of the positive impact on their life

The majority of veterans, families of the fallen and civilians report their involvement with TMF has not only left a positive impact on their lives but it has also inspired them to keep serving their communities in new ways.

“Life changing. TMF has given me a sense of purpose and inspired me to serve in all aspects of my life.”


View Ben's Story

Impact Firsthand

A TMF Veteran Account

Ben Alexander, a Veteran Mentor in Mesa, Arizona, struggled to return to civilian life after 8 years in the Marine Corps. “I felt like I was abandoned,” he says of the few tools available for transitioning military members.

But through engaging with TMF initiatives, Ben has found purpose and meaning, is developing meaningful relationships, and is engaging in activities that matter to him, like youth development and service—and in the process, overcoming the Post-Traumatic Stress that has followed him.

“Without [TMF], I don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing.”

View Monica’s Story

A TMF Survivor Account

Monica Velez suffered the loss of both of her brothers, Freddy and Andrew, while they were serving in the Army. After their deaths, “The Monica that was ever there, was gone,” she says.

After losing all hope, Monica turned to Travis Manion Foundation. “I didn’t realize what an amazing impact this was going to have on my life,” Monica tells us. Joining the TMF community and channeling her grief into serving others was the “missing puzzle piece” that made her whole again.

IVMF Concludes

Greater Participation, Greater Impact

IVMF has analyzed data to investigate our long-held belief that veterans, families of the fallen, and civilians are empowered and inspired when they take part in TMF initiatives. The latest evaluation takes that belief even further by finding a strong relationship between our members’ participation and a greater sense of thriving, health and resiliency. Not surprisingly, our initiatives may also help to bridge the civilian-military divide, creating instead a unique connection between civilians and those who are tied to the military.

Download the 2020 Full Report
Assessing TMF Impact on Youth

Instilling Character in Future Generations

In addition to researching our impact on members, IVMF and TMF have sought to identify the impact our Character Does Matter program imparts on youth. Led by veterans and families of the fallen, our CDM program challenges youth to adopt the “If Not Me, Then Who…” mantra as a means to affect positive change in their own lives and their communities. Research gathered by IVMF between Aug 2018 and December 2020 clearly demonstrates that youth participating in the program experience personal growth and character development, and that this impact has a lasting effect.

IVMF Data Demonstrates Positive, Long-Term Effect on Youth

Veterans Mentoring Youth Creates Change Agents

Research gathered by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) indicates several positive outcomes for youth in the Character Does Matter program. Importantly, Veteran Mentors positively impact students’ behaviors and attitudes by promoting growth in areas such as: self-reflection, confidence, goal-setting, leadership, and service. Also, after completing the CDM program, young adults become agents of change who then go on to positively influence their school culture and local communities.




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TMF Stats:
001 60,000+ Veterans + Survivors Empowered
002 115,000+ Spartan Members
003 300,000+ Youth Living "If Not Me, Then Who..." Movement